Crystal Mountain Ski Area
Most Washington skiers will agree that nothing makes their hearts pitter-patter like standing in front of bluebird skies and freshly fallen powder at Crystal Mountain (360/663-2265, snow conditions 888/754-6199, www.skicrystal.com, lifts open daily 9 a.m.–4 p.m. mid-Nov.–mid-Apr.). This is Washington’s largest and highest-elevation ski area, with some of the nicest lifts and lodges in the Northwest.
On clear days you can take in views of Mount Rainier while carving up the slopes, no matter what your skill level—there’s everything from bunny slopes to double black diamond routes to get the old ticker pounding. Even cross-country skiers can get into the act on miles of groomed trails.
Adult lift tickets are $60 all day, $55 half day. Students age 11–17 cost $55 all day, $50 half day. Kids 7–10 years old can wriggle their legs over the chairlift all day for $30 and half a day for $25. Little snowplowers six and under get in free. Seniors over 70 can buy one level of lift ticket for $35 all day. And beginners of any age can pick up a lift ticket good only for the bunny slope for $35.
Other services at Crystal Mountain include rentals, ski and snowboard schools, day care, and several restaurants.
Getting to Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain is 76 miles from Seattle. The Crystal Mountain Express (800/665-2122) provides bus service from Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma on weekends and holidays late December–February. The cost is $85 adult round-trip, including an all-day lift ticket.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition